We had expected a great panorama on Paris from the stairs of the Sacré Coeur and we were deceived.
What we first saw in the distance were the buildings of the "banlieue" suburbs of the south of Paris. Here and there we would distinguish a monument shrouded in the historical centre. My photo speaks up for herself I may think.
Furthermore the trees did limit the view to the west so that to see the Tour Eiffel we had to leave the parvis.
I presume that for a really good view one has to climb to the dome of the basilica. A touristic success with 10 million visitors.
Actually visiting the Musée d'Orsay we had from the terrace at level 5 a good view on the Sacré Coeur and the Butte Montmartre while the reverse viewing Paris from the Sacré Coeur had been a deception!
Montmartre was a little village on the outskirts of the city of Paris until it was discovered by artists in the nineteenth century.
Montmartre is one of the few hills in Paris, and the views from the church square are magnificent. In fact, next to the Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur is the second highest point in Paris.
Montmartre still retains its village qualities. Old houses jostle together in its narrow lanes.
In the 19th century, artists liked the quality of light on this hill, out of the smoke, grime and noise ofthe centre of Paris. Many famous painters lived and worked here, Van Gogh, Lautrec, Seurat, Monet etc.
It is still the haunt of artists but today these are painters who provide the tourist market with souvenirs. The Place du Tertre at the foot of the hill comes to life with artists' easels during the afternoons. It is also reputed to be the place in Paris where you are most likely to have your pocket picked .... so be careful when you visit!
The streets surrounding Sacré Coeur and Montmartre come to life in the evening. The police presence keeps a watchful eye
From all around Paris you can see Sacre Coeur sitting high on the hill of Montmartre . It is located in the North of Paris, 129 meters above sea level (200 meters from the Dome). The style of both the interior and exterior is Romano-Byzantine. The laying of the foundation stone began in 1875.
The Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart) Basilica (place of pilgrimage) is a really beautiful building. The metro stop for SC is about a 15 minute walk to the church. It is in a really charming area and the walk was very refreshing. The funicular to the church was out of order so we had to climb the 200 steps to the top. From outside the Basilica you could see over all of Paris.
The inside of the church was nice enough with many separate altars but I really thought it was the outside design/architecture that was special. One thing I liked very much about this church was that it was not for tourists in that no photos were allowed and you had to be quiet while walking around. In front of every altar you had an opportunity to light a candle, which I did. Please remember to make a donation since these donations help maintain the church.
The Basilica is open every day from 6am to 11pm ( for visits, the last entries are around 10.15pm).
You can climb up the dome to have a fanstastic view of Paris: 9.00am to 7pm (6pm in winter). It is also possible to visit the crypt (same times).
Times of Service:
Friday: Eucharist: 11h15 - 18h 30 - 22h - 15h
Saturday : 22h Anticipated Sunday Mass
Sunday: Eucharist : 11h (Solemn Mass) - 18h - 22h
16h Vespers-Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Although all visitor information was correct as of this writing, check mass schedule if you'd like to attend.
I visited this place in the early 1960s. This new visit will probably be my second and last visit to what became the most touristy place of Paris.
The terraces of the restaurants have invaded in a few decennia the place du Tertre what was not the case on my first visit. The price of 6€ for a cappuccino is probably not far from the price at Palaces Georges V or Crillon in the centre.
I think that what tourists like here is the striking contrast between the village look of the Butte Montmartre and the very architecturally (Haussmann) organized spaces of the centre.
Presently this "aspect villageois" is amplified by the sightseeing and commercial function of the Place du Tertre. A positive point is the fact that the houses are maintained in a good state what is not the case in ordinary French villages.
This substantial church is visible from most of Paris, gleaming white in sunlight. It is very much a matter of personal taste how you feel about its appearance, its beauty or lack thereof has been a matter of debate since it was built on the former site of the artillery batteries of Montmartre. See also my tip on the historic marker. To quote Wikipedia, it also …. was controversial in that it was built “to expiate the crimes of the Communards,” as some people at the time put it. It was also seen as a memorial to the many French citizens who lost their lives in the Paris Commune and the Franco-Prussian War.
Whatever its history or what you feel about its beauty, there is no argument that it is a spectacular sight and that the views from here are excellent. A visit ties in well with a walk through Montmartre.
With its 130 meters, the Butte Montmartre, crowned by the Sacre Coeur, is the highest Paris' "summit".
There are two different stories about the name "Montmatre" origin : the official one beeing 'Mont de Mercure', but, a 13th century legend states that it comes from 'Mont des Martyrs' and refers to those, who, with Saint Denis (the first Paris' bishop), were killed here for their faith in the 3th century.
From the 12th century to the Revoution (1789) Montmartre housed an important and powerfull benedictine Abbaye.
In 1790, Montmartre was divided in two (uphill and downhill). While the downhill part was quite imediately re-included in Paris, the uphill one grew as a prosperous village until the 19th century and kept some independance, even after being attached to Paris in 1860 (and took an important part in the 'Commune' revolution in 1871).
This independant status appealed to artists, especially painters (like Vernet, Géricault, Corot, Pissarro, Renoir, Van Gogh, Utrillo, Picasso, ....) who moved to the Butte Montmartre during all the 19th century and the begining of the 20th.
Since then, if the area has lost its favour among the artists (in the 50's to Saint Germain des Pres (wich has now become a strictly touristy place too)) it has earned a lot among the tourists, especially after the film 'Amelie' (french title : Le fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain) came out.
It's a working class, cosmopolitan, colourfull, ever crowded and lively area dominated by 'artists' (and souvenir shops) place du Tertre, cafes everywhere, and fabric and (cheap) clothes stores.
This basilica sits on hill that can be viewed most of Paris’ other monuments. It’s very Byzantine (although referred to as Neo-Romanesque) in style with its elongated white domes. The white stone called Chateau-Landon whitens with age, thus making it more beautiful as time goes on. If you look at my Intro picture, taken from the top of Notre Dame, you can see the Basilica dazzling white on the distant hill of Montmartre. It has a 19-ton bell that can be heard for some distance. The statues you see on it’s facade are the bronze equestrian statues of St. Joan of Arc and St. Louis with a statue of Christ with his hands raised in blessing. The interior is beautifully decorated with mosaics and a lovely figure of the Virgin and Child. It’s built on the site where Saint Denis was beheaded in the 3rd. Century. Like many of the other Christian sites, druids worshiped on this very spot and a site for early Christian churches. The St. Pierre de Montmartre, a 6th century Parisian church, still sits next to the Basilica. The Sacre Coeur was started in 1875, but wasn’t consecrated until after WWI in 1914.The Basilica is an important place for pilgrimages and welcomed by the Benedictine nuns of the Sacred Heart.
Although the Sacre Coeur isn’t considered architecturally beautiful, it’s a very imposing and important landmark of Paris.
Metro line 2 or 12 : Abbesses (then
take hill tram), Anvers (then take hill tram), Barbes-Rochechouart, Chateau-Rouge, Lamarck-Caulaincourt.
Bus: 30, 31, 80, 85 and Montmartrobus
(from Métro Jules Joffrin or Pigalle)
Basilica open from 6am to 11pm
Dôme : open from 9ham to 5h30pm (7pm in summer)
Free for the basilica.
Dome: 5 euros
This white basilica is located on a steep hill overlooking the city and it’s nearly as much a symbol of Paris as the Eiffel Tower It is a Roman Catholic basilica and dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Basilica of the Sacré Cœur was built on Montmartre from 1876 to 1912 by public subscription as a gesture of expiation after the defeat of 1871 in the Franco-Prussian War. It's a steep uphill climb up a long series of steps to the front door of the church, but it is something you a must-see. You will also have a amazing view of Paris. If you don't care to do all the climbing, you can part with a metro ticket and take the Funiculaire de Montmartre, which is located at the base of the hill on your left as you face Sacre Coeur from the front.
The author of numerous important plays, Alexandre Dumas fils was the illegitimate child of Marie-Catherine Labay, a dressmaker, and Alexandre Dumas, the author of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.
The writer was legally recognized by his father in 1831 and moved to live with him.
Among his important novels, we can count La dame aux camelias (The Lady of the Camellias), inpired by a young courtesan met while living in Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Alexandre Dumas fils died at Marly-le-Roi in 1895 and was buried in Cimetiere de Montmartre.
We were surprised how few people had paid the Euro5 entry fee (2008 price) to climb up the narrow and steep spiral staircases to the dome of the Sacré Coeur Basilica. It's possible to walk all round the base of the dome so you have a 360 degree view of the northern part of the city. It also means you get to see the outside of the church from a different (and photogenic) angle but, best of all, you can stop and take your time. There were only 3 other people up there with us and yet there was a constant stream of folk entering the main church.
Please be aware that there are 234 steps and the staircases are steep so the halfway break is a welcome opportunity to get your breath back. It really was worth it and made up for the fact that we couldn't get up the Notre Dame towers.
A kestrel came and perched on the building, sitting still and watchful for small prey it could swoop down on - a good vantage point indeed.
Please be aware our trip was in 2008 so the entrance fees may have gone up but I doubt whether the number of steps have!
5 Reviews and 710 Opinions The Four Seasons George V is truly one of the world's great hotels. I really, really love to stay...
Hotel Relais Bosquet Paris
8 Reviews and 881 Opinions I know Hotel Relais Bosquet for a long time and it always been a very satisfying hotel. The care of...
Saint James Paris Paris
1 Review and 147 Opinions Saint James is a beautifull place, oase of silence in the middle of Paris. Quietly good service,...